For Immediate ReleaseAugust 15, 2019
Fish protections updated in report about San Geronimo Valley development rules
AUGUST 20 UPDATE: The Board of Supervisors accepted this supplemental EIR and approved the amendment to the Countywide Plan.
San Rafael, CA – An environmental study that recommends updated policies and standards for creekside properties in rural San Geronimo Valley is heading to the Marin County Board of Supervisors for potential certification on August 20.
If approved, building development applications within the Stream Conservation Area (SCA) would be evaluated under the County’s 2007 general plan (Countywide Plan). As it stands now, development plans within 100 feet of creeks in San Geronimo Valley must adhere to policies and ordinances from 25 years ago under the 1994 Countywide Plan.
The document going before the Supervisors on August 20 is an amendment to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the 2007 Countywide Plan. The SEIR analyzes the cumulative impacts to salmonids in the San Geronimo Valley, affecting homeowners in the unincorporated villages of Forest Knolls, Woodacre, Lagunitas, and San Geronimo. Native to the Pacific Northwest, salmonids are a family of long bony fish that divide their lives between freshwater and saltwater and include varieties of salmon and trout.
The delay in approval stems from a lawsuit that dates to 2012, brought forth by nonprofit the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN). At issue was the County’s zoning regulations to protect the SCA and their application to properties bordering the creek and other tributaries that are habitat for endangered coho salmon. The SCA not only protects streams and riparian habitats but establishes special permit areas for new development.
The County adopted the EIR when it approved the 2007 update to the Countywide Plan and took measures to protect fish. However, SPAWN challenged the issue of sensitive habitat in parts of the Lagunitas watershed. The amendment to the Final SEIR complies with the court order and was prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Marin County Environmental Impact Review guidelines.
On July 22, 2019, the Marin County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Final SEIR and decided that the salmonid impacts complied with state regulations. The Planning Commission then approved the amendment to the Final SEIR, moving it forward for a vote by the Board of Supervisors.
Printed copies of the Final SEIR, including public comments, are on file with Marin CDA in Suite 308 of the Marin County Civic Center and the Civic Center library branch, both at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael.
The August 20 Board session is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Board chamber, Suite 330, at the Civic Center.
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Rachel ReidEnvironmental Planning ManagerCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 304San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6863Email: Rachel ReidPlanning website